Bright orange pumpkins are providing great autumnal ambiance on doorsteps throughout the cities. But rather than feeding pumpkins to those curious and hungry squirrels dashing about, why not make some delicious soup for you and your other humans to enjoy? Pumpkins can make an easy soup—and they are also good for us. As part of the same gourd family as cucumbers, squash and melons, pumpkins are high in fiber and a good source of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and potassium.
Pumpkin seeds are also a deliciously nutty snack and rich in vitamins B and E—so don’t throw out the “guts” when making soup or come jack-o’-lantern time. (Click here for more on pumpkins and tips for toasting the seeds.)
Some of the best pumpkins for cooking are the smaller pie pumpkins. Or, if you prefer, you could also make this recipe with squash. This lovely seasonal soup has complex flavors and is a cinch to make, says chef and cookbook author Rozanne Gold, who created this recipe for Real Food. Instead of sweet spices, it gets its perfume from sautéed red onion, red bell pepper, fresh thyme and a bit of curry powder. This soup can be made up to four days in advance of when you may want to serve it—you just may need to add a little water since it will thicken.
Savory Pumpkin Soup with Gruyère Toasts
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups finely diced red onion
1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic
2½ pounds pumpkin, calabaza or butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme
2½ teaspoons curry powder, divided
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 thin slices baguette, lightly toasted
1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded on a box grater
1. Heat oil in a 4-quart pot. Add onion, pepper, and 3 cloves thinly sliced garlic. Cook 10 minutes, until soft and golden. Add pumpkin and stir well. Cook 2 minutes and add 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
2. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 45 minutes, until pumpkin is very soft. Process in batches in a food processor until very smooth and return to pot. Add butter and remaining garlic, pushed through a press. Add remaining curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
3. For the Gruyère Toasts: Top each baguette slice with a mound of Gruyère and place briefly under broiler.
4. Drizzle a little olive oil over each serving of soup and sprinkle with remaining thyme leaves before serving. Either float a baguette slice atop each bowl of soup or serve on the side.
Nutrition info Savory Pumpkin Soup with Gruyère Toasts (per serving): Calories 191 (107 From Fat); Fat 12G (SAT. 5G); Chol 22mg; Sodium 388mg; Carb 15g; Fiber 3g; Protein 7g